Gotta peeve? Share it here

by Madeleine Kolb

I was peeved by the unannounced and incredibly loud tearing-up of the sidewalk outside my home office as I was writing this post 

From time to time, I feel an overwhelming need to lighten up, to write about something other than the world epidemic of Type 2 diabetes or which promising treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease has been shown to be utterly ineffective.

Over breakfast I carefully comb the “Washington Post,” looking for a break from anxiety-provoking news about budget deficits, terrorist attacks, and serial pedophiles.

John Kelly’s Peevefest

Several weeks ago, while skimming the Metro section, I was delighted to find such a break. In the “John Kelly’s Washington” column, the generally congenial Mr. Kelly not only vented and raged about a pet peeve but also invited readers to send him some of their own.

Knowing an opportunity when I see one, I immediately dashed off a short list and emailed it to him.

I had almost forgotten about it when John Kelly printed three columns worth of responses. He introduced the second day’s column like this:

As we embark on Day Two of the Reader Hatefest, let us pause to ponder how future generations may think of us. Of course, we can never really know any other time but our own. If you are reading this in the year 2784 — when all the world’s problems have been solved — you may be impressed that we had to endure such hardships as difficult-to-remove yogurt tops. Or if in your time Earthlings are condemned to serve as living hosts for larval aliens, you may be thinking that our gripes were laughable.

Anyhoo, here are some things that bugged some of us back in 2011, starting with irritations at the grocery store.

Olney’s David Bancroft hates that different supermarkets use different-colored milk jugs, making it difficult for him to figure out which one is skim. “At one store it has dark blue caps, in another, pink ones,” he wrote. “At yet another store the skim milk is in light blue caps. Just when I thought I had the color schemes all figured out, one store changed the color. One has to actually read the labels now to find the right one. Why this irritates me I have no idea, but it does.”

And scrolling down, I saw it: one of the peeves I’d sent to Mr. Kelly.

Lexington Park’s Madeleine Kolb hates

seeing “tabloids at eye-level at the check-out counter with articles about how a woman lost 235 pounds by eating junk food. That’s more than my boyfriend’s entire body weight, and he’s over six feet tall.”

And on they went. We readers ranted. We raved. We reveled in it. No peeve was too trivial, and to his lasting credit, John Kelly encouraged us.

He egged us on. “Remember,”  he said, “it’s healthy to purge every now and then. That’s what this peevefest is all about….”

And in that spirit, I invite you to leave a peeve of your own in the comments below. Nothing mean-spirited, just something that bugs you out of all proportion to any possible significance.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Leah McClellan July 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Hi Madeleine!
Although I’m always working on not complaining about stuff I have no control over, there are a few things that get on my last nerve sometimes or are just a big challenge. The biggest one is when people let their dogs run loose in their yards here in my neighborhood (a development or subdivision in the suburbs).

When I walk my two dogs (both pretty big and strong–the shepherd/lab mix is around 90lbs and the boxer about 45) other dogs loose in their yards are hazardous. Sometimes they run across the street at us (they could get hit by a car). I’m sure they usually just want to play and meet other dogs, but if we’re in front of their house, we’re on their territory. No matter how friendly that dog usually is, territorial instincts can turn almost any dog into one who bites, under the “right” circumstances. Both of my dogs are friendly, and they get along great with other dogs at the dog park (neutral territory for everyone) but they’re dogs. They have big, sharp teeth. End of story.

My challenge is to keep my fairly well-trained dogs under control and get out of there quickly without letting them get tangled up together–even if it’s the other dog’s territory, it’s still two big dogs against one (usually smaller), if it comes to that (and my legs in the middle of things!). More times than I can count we’ve been followed by a dog for a long way, one time all the way back to my house! I had to carry the (sweet) little guy home.

I know it’s my responsibility to keep my dogs under control while out on a walk (and I would do well to have them so perfectly trained that this is never an issue for us). They are pretty well-trained, and often hardly react when a dog is loose in a yard, and I think we’re in good shape. But then some certain dogs challenge them in some way or get their interest or they get especially excited–or I’m caught off guard (which again is my responsibility, really)–and I am really challenged to haul them in and get going down the street. But I think responsibility goes both ways.

It’s a law here that all dogs are to be restrained behind a fence or on a leash and there’s a reason for that. And even if I have my responsibility, I sure wish others would realize how potentially dangerous it is to let their dogs loose in the yard. No matter how small a dog is, they all can bite–I have a big scar on my ankle to prove it (from when I was a kid a little terrier snapped at me as I dove into a pool).

So this is my peeve; thanks for listening :) Oh and BTW I like the tabloids at the grocery checkout–gives me something to do (if only giggle or roll my eyes) and I study titles and imagine how I can use them for my posts :)
Leah McClellan recently posted..Peaceful isn’t passive: 7 tips for speaking upMy Profile

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2 Madeleine Kolb July 16, 2011 at 11:33 am

Leah, That’s a real challenge, and–as you say–things could get out of control. As for my peeve, I usually do the eye-rolling thing like you do, but sometimes a tabloid cover story is so ludicrous that I really need to rant.

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3 Lynne Spreen July 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

People who speak to me about my 86-year-old mother, while she is STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO ME. They use the third person like she isn’t even there! “How is she feeling?” one asked. “Ask her,” I said. What makes it hard is they are nice people but they have this unbelievable blank spot in their brains.
Thanks. I feel better now.
Lynne Spreen recently posted..Laughing at the AfterlifeMy Profile

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4 Madeleine Kolb July 16, 2011 at 11:41 am

Lynne, I’ve heard of this happening to people in wheelchairs. People make the strangest assumptions. In the wheelchair case, I guess others are thinking that if a person can’t walk, she can’t see, hear, talk, think or do much of anything else. How bizarre!

Your answer, “Ask her” is perfect. Do people take the hint when you say that? I’m wondering too about your mother. She must get sick of being treated/ ignored like this. Maybe there’s some snappy comeback she could use.

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